Wise Men Have Something to Say, Fools Have To Say Something

Posted by Lakshmi

Sunday, 4  December 2011

In order to understand  the reason for my write-up today, you have to  do yourself a favour and click on the link given below ( an online new portal - Malaysian Insider  ).  Then read  the article by Hafidz Baharom  entitled " Is our  faith so brittle " otherwise you'd be all blinky dinky  and  would have no inkling of what this is all about .

I had recently linked an  article written  by Hafidz Baharom  

Having read the article and finding Hafidz Baharom's view a refreshing piece of critical thinking , intellectually stimulating and news worthy, I then  linked it to my facebook. .  The following were the  comments based on that article which  I  had posted on my wall and the reply/remarks by my good friend   Datin Zaleha Shamsuddin

I so hope more of Hafidz Baharom are out there and zilch of Ahmad Maslan . Dear GOD, make Malaysia safe again.

Zaleha Shamsuddin Which of your gods, knowing you have so many.

This is my reply to her

Dear Datin Zaleha Shamsuddin

We have been good friends for some years now and sharing the same age,  month and year of birth had made our friendship more meaningful  .  Added to the fact that you were a devout Muslim and seeing you fulfilling your religious obligations conscientiously with great effort (  despite going through trying times with regards to your  family matters and poor health )  I held you in high regard and had valued our friendship. There were many a time when your strong opinions on matters were very different from mine but I did not pursue them as I was and still am of the view that everyone   of us has a right to express our views  ( like I always say, " to each her/his own " ) so long as we don't hurt or offend others' sensitivities   In that regard,  our different faiths and  religious idealogy had never given us any issues in the past  and we had even on some occasions.  discussed our different religious philosophy in a cordial  manner .

So you will understand why I am now so  shocked, appalled and  deeply offended by your  unwarranted, crude and coarse  remarks you had written about ' my God/Gods ' .

I had much respect  of  you as a friend and more so when u were always quoting  the  verses from the Quran in all our  conversations.  I was thus  under the impression  that you were a  very pious, devout, erudite and true  Muslim who understood the real meaning of Islam - a religion of peace and knowledge as all religions of the world are in my view.   Sadly, I realise now that it was just a facade and  you  are not what you  portray yourself  to be .  A true Muslim or for that matter, a true follower of any faith would never  stoop so  low as to belittle  another religion/faith for a true believer in GOD ( doesn't really matter which one )would ultimately realise that all paths lead to the same Source..  Only the roads taken to reach the Source are different . 

 Taken from your fb entry too were these words as written by you :

Selamat maal hijrah, may it be a more wiser, humbler and grateful year for all of us

 I guess  that you don't practice what you preach. Perhaps you should take time to sit down and think what ' wiser, humbler and grateful ' means.  In my book, it means I am forever grateful and blessed  for all that I have now,  that  there are far more enlightened people  around us who do not flaunt their knowledge and ' ketuanan ' superiority  and lastly ' wiser' means  to know when to open my mouth and when to keep it closed .

 Incidently , if you read your Maal Hijrah message carefully, you'd realise that ( 1st mistake )even your message is worded wrongly  ( sigh)  like everything else you write la ...... you are wishing for the year to be wiser, humbler and grateful ?  looks like you don't want yourself nor your   friends to be wiser , more humble,and grateful  (2nd mistake - no such thing as humbler, sorry, but that's the language teacher in me talking).  A year cannot be wiser, more humble or grateful dear.... Words like wiser, more humble and grateful are character traits and adjectives used to describe living things/people .  Tsk....tsk ......tsk...

 An educated, intelligent  and titled person like you  should have known better than to write highly offensive and tasteless remarks on other faiths/religions  of which you have no in depth knowledge nor  understanding at all.  But then again, as my good friend, Tengku Norashikin said when I had discussed this with her, " not all educated people are intelligent and not all intelligent people are educated ! "  I guess I can see now in which category you have placed yourself

If you are mature enough and put on your thinking cap,  you would understand  that if GOD ( it doesn't matter yours or mine ) had wanted to have only 1 faith in the world , He wouldn't have created all the other faiths just for fun now, would He ? 

Coming back to your remark : Which one of  your Gods ( to safe Malaysia) since I have so many '
 Really, Zaleha , You want to know which God I'm referring to ? And if you do know which God I'm referring to,  would you  want to make an appointment and  demand an answer from  " my God/Gods '  as to  why our beautiful  country is not safe anymore but going through endless mega  scandals of sleaze , corruption  and blatant misuse of taxpayers money running into billions   while the ordinary Joe/Jane Public is struggling to put food on the table for their kids ?  .  Or maybe you would like to ask ' my God/Gods,   why our  politicians are using religion to divide the  nation along ethnic and religious lines and perpetuating the ' Muslims/ Non-Muslims segregation in all aspects of our lives ? Why not just treat  all of us as Malaysians. Full Stop. ? Seriously , Zaleha, would you be asking these questions or ask for a List of  my Gods and what are their job descriptions? 

On a lighter vein, looking at the horrendous list of problems Malaysia is going  through, even my many 'Gods' won't be enough in numbers to help solve the problems we are   facing !!

We all have strong  beliefs  in our own faith and beautiful Malaysia  is home to all the major religions of the world. Even then, our education system has from childhood ingrained in us the wrong methodology  of  the word 'tolerance for all other religions '  which really does not say much for the Ministry's education standards . Either that or they were severely  handicapped in the language department,   for the proper word to have been instilled, would have been ' respect for all religions '.   As such,  religion and politics are the two things which we can never comment upon  publicly as we please  in a  religiously and politically   polarised society as ours. 

If you still want to comment , which I personally think is your right , then you must be prepared - have a thorough and in-depth knowledge of the  subject  matter  you want to discuss ,  your character and knowledge being  able to stand up to scrutiny,   being  open to counter  criticism and being able to cogently  reason it out   intelligently  in a rational and calm manner without shooting your mouth off like a monkey  and thumping your chest like a  gorilla . These  guidelines apply to anyone  irrespective of any particular faith.  

Problem arises when one party/segment of society   feels that he/she /they have  the right to criticise the other but cannot accept the same criticism put back  to him/her/them.  The standard reply I have seen and read is the ' others ' ( Non-Muslims)  cannot question Islam because  i ) it is seditious   ii)  Non-Muslims have  no locus standi  iii) even Muslims cannot and don't  question their faith/tenets/hadiths,   so who are we/others ?.    Then, it's not a level playing field and bias and bigotry  takes over ( I remember the Malaysian  Bar Council's Interfaith dialogue  which was vehemently and violently opposed with racial slurs and condemnation and even the Police Force did not do anything to stop them)  

Hafidz Baharom's article was   well thought out and  written and  his  reasonings  were logical by any standards .   I found his explanation plausible, stimulating  and it made sense.     The article was based on his thoughts and opinion , however. If you read the last line of the article, it clearly says :

The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

I simply recommended his article for reading in my fb .  At no time did I question his faith or  make any downgrading remarks about his religion.  He does however, asks some pertinent and common sense based  questions  for his  leaders, and readers alike  to think and remark upon. My remarks of there being more of H Baharom like public citizen in no way touched his religious upbringing or faith.

I say again, I simply recommended his article for reading and made a simple statement of '  Dear  GOD make  Malaysia  safe again ' to be like the old times when there was no racial distrust, no such thing as  constantly being identified as Muslims and Non-Muslims in all spheres of our lives , when we could  greet and wish  each other without fear of  bigotry, when we as true Malaysians could visit  and partake of our other friends' hospitality during  festivals and celebrations freely , when there was no rampant corruption and sleaze on a global scale........ I still remember a few years ago, the Perak Chief Hadi issued an edict or something wherein  Muslims cannot even wish or give greetings to their Non Muslims friends  celebrating  Deepavali/ Christmas..etc . Then there was the Yoga controversy - Muslims cannot do Yoga exercises... it will weaken their Islamic faith.. seriously ( lol)!  There  are 5 branches of Yoga and Hatha Yoga or the physical Yoga has nothing to do with one's faith.  It is purely  physical in nature consisting of stretching  exercises/poses meant to  tone and make the body/joints flexible and at the same time stimulating/massaging  the 7 internal endocrine glands in our body,  which if becomes sluggish, will cause major and severe health problems.  Go read up on general science....     . The idiom  " A little knowledge is very dangerous " is so so 100 % true for people like... well... you know.............................

 If at all you were as intelligent as I thought you were, you could have given your counter reasons for H Baharom's article and put forth your replies for his many pertinent questions ( not mine, comprende ? ) like below

How about lobbying for religious institutions in every state to ensure that hospitals have an imam on duty to counsel the sick and the dying? How about speaking to malls to disallow the distribution of any fliers of ANY RELIGION in a mall, since it is a form of disturbance that makes people uncomfortable?

How about lobbying for adult courses in religious studies for those who apparently didn’t get enough of it after 12 years in both primary and secondary schools?

You already have people going around parks at night to so-call ‘cegah maksiat’ and even nailing warnings to every gazebo in Taman Tasik Shah Alam. Why not use the same resources to educate the ummah and even raise the welfare of the ummah instead of spending more cash on a new building?

 So please, dear Datin Zaleha Shamsuddin, be more circumspect of what you think and write in public media .   I do really wish you had not written what you wrote and I also understand that one of my fb friends did reply you ....... .. I presume there were some heated exchange of words on my fb wall but by the time I had steadied my nerves from your indecent attack on my faith, ( I was too stunned and shocked  by your words to resume my fb for a few days ) and opened my fb, both your remarks were withdrawn from my wall.  I only knew about the exchange from my very good friend, Tengku Norashikin , who being a true friend, did not take sides and gave me an impartial reasoning which allowed us an intellectual discussion on the matter.  

I hope you won't take up arms  and go on a warpath again  if   I say " Dear GOD, let there be more of Tengku Norashikins in Malaysia !

I end my piece by quoting a very very wise saying which I always  quote  to my  16 yr old son, Arvind, whenever I feel he talks too much "  WISE MEN HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, FOOLS HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING .   I hope Zaleha takes note of this too.

 Happy reading and painting


 Ps:  My next article will answer Zaleha's question - Why I have so many Gods

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